Ego te per omne quod datum mortalibus
et destinatum saeculum est,
claudente donec continebor corpore,
discernam orbe quolibet,

nec ab orbe longe nec remotum lumine
tenebo fibris insitum,
videbo corde, mente complectar pia
ubique praesentem mihi.

et cum solutus corporali carcere
terraque provolavero,
quo me locarit axe communis pater
illic quoque animo te geram.

neque finis idem qui meo me corpore
et amore laxabit tuo.
mens quippe, lapsis quae superstes artubus
de stirpe durat caeliti,

sensus necesse est simul et affectus suos
retineat ut vitam suam;
et ut mori sic oblivisci non capit,
perenne vivax et memor.

(Paulinus of Nola, Carm. 11.49-68)

Throughout the entire span granted and allotted to humankind, for so long as I am contained by this confining body, I may be separated from you by the length of a world, but you will not be far from my face or removed from my eyes. I shall hold you fast within me. I shall see you with my heart’s eye and embrace you with loving mind. You will be before me everywhere. When I am freed from the prison of my body and fly forth from the earth, whatever the heavenly region where our common Father sets me, even there I shall have you in mind. The death which looses me from my body will not loose me from your love, for the mind survives the limbs which fall away, and lives on because its birth is divine. So it must keep its feeling and affections as it keeps its life, and it admits forgetfulness no more than death. It lives and it remembers forever. (tr. Patrick Gerard Walsh)



Οἱ δὲ μέγα φρονέοντες ἐπὶ πτολέμοιο γεφύρας
ἥατο παννύχιοι, πυρὰ δέ σφισι καίετο πολλά.
ὡς δ’ ὅτ’ ἐν οὐρανῷ ἄστρα φαεινὴν ἀμφὶ σελήνην
φαίνετ’ ἀριπρεπέα, ὅτε τ’ ἔπλετο νήνεμος αἰθήρ·
ἔκ τ’ ἔφανεν πᾶσαι σκοπιαὶ καὶ πρώονες ἄκροι
καὶ νάπαι οὐρανόθεν δ’ ἄρ’ ὑπερράγη ἄσπετος αἰθήρ,
πάντα δὲ εἴδεται ἄστρα, γέγηθε δέ τε φρένα ποιμήν·
τόσσα μεσηγὺ νεῶν ἠδὲ Ξάνθοιο ῥοάων
Τρώων καιόντων πυρὰ φαίνετο Ἰλιόθι πρό.
χίλι’ ἄρ’ ἐν πεδίῳ πυρὰ καίετο, πὰρ δὲ ἑκάστῳ
ἥατο πεντήκοντα σέλᾳ πυρὸς αἰθομένοιο.
ἵπποι δὲ κρῖ λευκὸν ἐρεπτόμενοι καὶ ὀλύρας
ἑσταότες παρ’ ὄχεσφιν ἐΰθρονον Ἠῶ μίμνον.
(Homer, Il. 8.553-565)

These then with high hearts stayed the whole night through along the lines of war, and their fires burned in multitudes. Just as in the sky about the gleaming moon the stars shine clear when the air is windless, and into view come all mountain peaks and high headlands and glades, and from heaven breaks open the infinite air, and all the stars are seen, and the shepherd rejoices in his heart; in such multitudes between the ships and the streams of Xanthus shone the fires that the Trojans kindled before Ilios. A thousand fires were burning in the plain and by each sat fifty men in the glow of the blazing fire. And their horses, eating of white barley and spelt, stood beside the chariots and waited for fair-throned Dawn. (tr. Augustus Taber Murray, revised by William F. Wyatt)



Σοὶ μὲν ἐγὼ πτέρ’ ἔδωκα, σὺν οἷς ἐπ’ ἀπείρονα πόντον
πωτήσῃ καὶ γῆν πᾶσαν ἀειρόμενος
ῥηϊδίως· θοίνῃς δὲ καὶ εἰλαπίνῃσι παρέσσῃ
ἐν πάσαις, πολλῶν κείμενος ἐν στόμασιν,
καί σε σὺν αὐλίσκοισι λιγυφθόγγοις νέοι ἄνδρες
εὐκόσμως ἐρατοὶ καλά τε καὶ λιγέα
ᾄσονται. καὶ ὅταν δνοφερῆς ὑπὸ κεύθεσι γαίης
βῇς πολυκωκύτους εἰς Ἀΐδαο δόμους,
οὐδέποτ’ οὐδὲ θανὼν ἀπολεῖς κλέος, ἀλλὰ μελήσεις
ἄφθιτον ἀνθρώποις αἰὲν ἔχων ὄνομα,
Κύρνε, καθ’ Ἑλλάδα γῆν στρωφώμενος ἠδ’ ἀνὰ νήσους
ἰχθυόεντα περῶν πόντον ἐπ’ ἀτρύγετον,
οὐχ ἵππων νώτοισιν ἐφήμενος, ἀλλά σε πέμψει
ἀγλαὰ Μουσάων δῶρα ἰοστεφάνων·
πᾶσι δ’ ὅσοισι μέμηλε καὶ ἐσσομένοισιν ἀοιδὴ
ἔσσῃ ὁμῶς, ὄφρ’ ἂν γῆ τε καὶ ἠέλιος·
αὐτὰρ ἐγὼν ὀλίγης παρὰ σεῦ οὐ τυγχάνω αἰδοῦς,
ἀλλ’ ὥσπερ μικρὸν παῖδα λόγοις μ᾽ ἀπατᾷς.
(Theognis, Eleg. 237-254)

I have given you wings with which you will fly, soaring easily, over the boundless sea and all the land. You will be present at every dinner and feast, lying on the lips of many, and lovely youths accompanied by the clear sounds of pipes will sing of you in orderly fashion with beautiful, clear voices. And whenever you go to Hades’ house of wailing, down in the dark earth’s depths, never even in death you will lose your fame, but you will be in men’s thoughts, your name ever immortal, Cyrnus, as you roam throughout the land of Greece and among the islands, crossing over the fish-filled, undraining(?) sea, not riding on the backs of horses, but it is the splendid gifts of the violet-wreathed Muses that will escort you. For all who care about their gifts, even for future generations, you will be alike the subject of song, as long as earth and sun exist. And yet I do not meet with a slight respect from you, but you deceive me with your words, as if I were a small child. (tr. Douglas E. Gerber)



Qualiter ambo simul paucis habitavimus horis
non fugit ex oculis, dum manet ista dies.
misimus o quotiens timidis epigrammata chartis!
et tua, ne recreer, pagina muta silet.
quis, rogo, reddat eas taciti quas perdimus horas?
tempora non revocat lux levis atque fugax.
dic homo note meus: quid agis? quid, amice, recurris?
si tua rura colis, cur mea vota neges?
scribe vacans animo, refer alta poemata versu
et quasi ruris agrum me cole voce, melo.
per thoraca meum ducas, precor, oris aratrum,
ut linguae sulcus sint sata nostra tuus,
pectoris unde seges gravidis animetur aristis,
pullulet et nostrum farra novale ferax.
nam mihi si loqueris, bone vir pietatis opimae
exsuperas labiis dulcia mella favis,
plusque liquore placet quem fert oleagina suco,
suavius et recreat quam quod aroma reflat.
cum Aspasio pariter caris patre, fratre Leone
longa stante die, dulcis amice, vale.
(Venantius Fortunatus 7.12.103-122)

How often we exchanged verses on hesitant paper, yet your page is silent now and unspeaking to give me no refreshment! Who, I ask, is to restore the hours we have lost in silence? Each day’s light is frail and fleeting, never recalling time past. Tell me, my good friend, how are you and how do you spend your time? If you are working the land, why do you refuse my requests? Write when you have the free time, send me fine poems in verse, and work on me too, like a field, with voice and with song. Drive, I pray, through my chest the plow of your words so that my field of grain is the furrow of your tongue, so that the harvest of my heart springs to life with swelling ears, and my fallow teems with fertile crops. For if you speak to me, good sir, rich in kindness, you surpass sweet honey with your honeycomb lips, and that liquor gives more pleasure than the oil the olive tree gives and more sweetly refreshes than the scent of a perfume. Along with dear Aspasius, your father, and your brother Leo, sweet friend, fare well for many a day. (tr. Michael Roberts)



Ἐνδένδε ὁρμηθέντες ἔπλωον ἀκραεί, καὶ διελθόντες σταδίους ἐς πεντακοσίους ὡρμίζοντο πρὸς ποταμῷ χειμαρρόῳ· Τόμηρος οὔνομα ἦν τῷ ποταμῷ. καὶ λίμνη ἦν ἐπὶ τῇσιν ἐκβολῇσι τοῦ ποταμοῦ, τὰ δὲ βραχέα τὰ πρὸς τῷ αἰγιαλῷ ἐπῴκεον ἄνθρωποι ἐν καλύβῃσι πνιγηρῇσι. καὶ οὗτοι ὡς προσπλώοντας εἶδον, ἐθάμβησάν τε καὶ παρατείναντες σφᾶς παρὰ τὸν αἰγιαλὸν ἐτάχθησαν ὡς ἀπομαχεόμενοι πρὸς τοὺς ἐκβαίνοντας. λόγχας δὲ ἐφόρεον παχέας, μέγαθος ὡς ἑξαπήχεας· ἀκωκὴ δὲ οὐκ ἐπῆν σιδηρέη, ἀλλὰ τὸ ὀξὺ αὐτοῖσι πεπυρακτωμένον τωὐτὸ ἐποίεε. πλῆθος δὲ ἦσαν ὡς ἑξακόσιοι. καὶ τούτους Νέαρχος ὡς ὑπομένοντάς τε καὶ παρατεταγμένους κατεῖδε, τὰς μὲν νέας ἀνακωχεύειν κελεύει ἐντὸς βέλεος, ὡς τὰ τοξεύματα ἐς τὴν γῆν ἀπ᾽ αὐτέων ἐξικνέεσθαι· αἱ γὰρ τῶν βαρβάρων λόγχαι ἀγχέμαχοι μὲν ἄφοβοι δὲ ἐς τὸ ἐσακοντίζεσθαι ἦσαν. αὐτὸς δὲ τῶν στρατιωτέων ὅσοι αὐτοὶ τε κουφότατοι καὶ κουφότατα ὡπλισμένοι τοῦ τε νέειν δαημονέστατοι, τούτους δὲ ἐκνήξασθαι κελεύει ἀπὸ συνθήματος. πρόσταγμα δέ σφισιν ἦν, ὅκως τις ἐκνηξάμενος σταίη ἐν τῷ ὕδατι, προσμένειν τὸν παραστάτην οἱ ἐσόμενον, μηδὲ ἐμβάλλειν πρόσθε ἐς τοὺς βαρβάρους, πρὶν ἐπὶ τριῶν ἐς βάθος ταχθῆναι τὴν φάλαγγα· τότε δὲ δρόμῳ ἐπιέναι ἀλαλάζοντας. ἅμα δὲ ἐρρίπτεον ἑωυτοὺς οἱ ἐπὶ τῷδε τεταγμένοι ἐκ τῶν νεῶν ἐς τὸν πόντον, καὶ ἐνήχοντο ὀξέως, καὶ ἵσταντο ἐν κόσμῳ, καὶ φάλαγγα ἐκ σφῶν ποιησάμενοι δρόμῳ ἐπῄεσαν αὐτοὶ τε ἀλαλάζοντες τῷ Ἐνυαλίῳ καὶ οἱ ἐπὶ τῶν νεῶν συνεπήχεον, τοξεύματά τε καὶ ἀπὸ μηχανέων βέλεα ἐφέρετο ἐς τοὺς βαρβάρους. οἳ δὲ τήν τε λαμπρότητα τῶν ὅπλων ἐκπλαγέντες καὶ τῆς ἐφόδου τὴν ὀξύτητα καὶ πρὸς τῶν τοξευμάτων τε καὶ τῶν ἄλλων βελέων βαλλόμενοι, οἷα δὴ ἡμίγυμνοι ἄνθρωποι, οὐδὲ ὀλίγον ἐς ἀλκὴν τραπέντες ἐγκλίνουσι. καὶ οἱ μὲν αὐτοῦ φεύγοντες ἀποθνήσκουσιν, οἳ δὲ καὶ ἁλίσκονται· ἔστι δὲ οἳ καὶ διέφυγον ἐς τὰ οὔρεα. ἦσαν δὲ οἱ ἁλόντες τά τε ἄλλα δασέες καὶ τὰς κεφαλάς, καὶ τοὺς ὄνυχας θηριώδεες· τοῖσι γὰρ δὴ ὄνυξιν ὅσα σιδήρῳ διαχρᾶσθαι ἐλέγοντο καὶ τοὺς ἰχθύας τούτοισι παρασχίζοντες κατεργάζεσθαι καὶ τῶν ξύλων ἃσαμαλθακώτερα. τὰ δὲ ἄλλα τοῖαι λίθοισι τοῖσιν ὀξέσιν ἔκοπτον· σίδηρος γὰρ αὐτοῖσιν οὐκ ἦν. ἐσθῆτα δὲ ἐφόρεον δέρματα θηρήια, οἳ δὲ καὶ ἰχθύων τῶν μεγάλων τὰ παχέα.
(Arrian, Ind. 24)

Thence they set sail and progressed with a favouring wind; and after a passage of five hundred stades the anchored by a torrent, which was called Tomerus. There was a lagoon at the mouths of the river, and the depressions near the bank were inhabited by natives in stifling cabins. These seeing the convoy sailing up were astounded, and lining along the shore stood ready to repel any who should attempt a landing. They carried thick spears, about six cubits long; these had no iron tip, but the same result was obtained by hardening the point with fire. They were in number about six hundred. Nearchus observed these evidently standing firm and drawn up in order, and ordered the ships to hold back within range, so that their missiles might reach the shore; for the natives’ spears, which looked stalwart, were good for close fighting, but had no terrors against a volley. Then Nearchus took the lightest and lightest-armed troops, such as were also the best swimmers, and bade them swim off as soon as the word was given. Their orders were that, as soon as any swimmer found bottom, he should await his mate, and not attack the natives till they had their formation three deep; but then they were to raise their battle cry and charge at the double. On the word, those detailed for this service dived from the ships into the sea, and swam smartly, and took up their formation in orderly manner, and having made a phalanx, charged, raising, for their part, their battle cry to the God of War, and those on shipboard raised the cry along with them; and arrows and missiles from the engines were hurled against the natives. They, astounded at the flash of the armour, and the swiftness of the charge, and attacked by showers of arrows and missiles, half naked as they were, never stopped to resist but gave way. Some were killed in flight; others were captured; but some escaped into the hills. Those captured were hairy, not only their heads but the rest of their bodies; their nails were rather like beasts’ claws; they used their nails (according to report) as if they were iron tools; with these they tore asunder their fishes, and even the less solid kinds of wood; everything else they cleft with sharp stones; for iron they did not possess. For clothing they wore skins of animals, some even the thick skins of the larger fishes. (tr. Ernest Iliff Robson)



Ἐν δὲ τῷ μυχῷ νῆσος ἦν, ἐοικυῖα τῇ πρώτῃ, λίμνην ἔχουσα· καὶ ἐν ταύτῃ νῆσον ἦν ἑτέρα, μεστὴ ἀνθρώπων ἀγρίων. πολὺ δὲ πλείους ἦσαν γυναῖκες, δασεῖται τοῖς σώμασιν· ἃς οἱ ἑρμηνέες ἐκάλουν Γορίλλας. διώκοντες δὲ ἄνδρας μὲν συλλαβεῖν οὐκ ἠδυνήθημεν, ἀλλὰ πάντες μὲν ἐξέφυγον, κρημνοβάται ὄντες καὶ τοῖς πέτροις ἀμυνόμενοι, γυναῖκας δὲ τρεῖς, αἳ δάκνουσαί τε καὶ σπαράττουσαι τοὺς ἄγοντας οὐκ ἤθελον ἕπεσθαι. ἀποκτείναντες μέντοι αὐτὰς ἐξεδείραμεν καὶ τὰς δορὰς ἐκομίσαμεν εἰς Καρχηδόνα. οὐ γὰρ ἔτι ἐπλεύσαμεν προσωτέρω, τῶν σίτων ἡμᾶς ἐκλιπόντων.
(Hannōnos Periplous 18)

In the recess of this bay there was an island, like the former one, having a lake, in which there was another island, full of savage men. There were women, too, in even greater number. They had hairy bodies, and the interpreters called them Gorillae. When we pursued them we were unable to take any of the men ; for they all escaped, by climbing the steep places and defending themselves with stones; but we took three of the women, who bit and scratched their leaders, and would not follow us. So we killed them and flayed them, and brought their skins to Carthage. For we did not voyage further, provisions failing us. (tr. Wilfred H. Schoff)



Certe quidem ipse orbis in promptu est, cultior de die, et instructior pristino. omnia iam pervia, omnia nota, omnia negotiosa; solitudines famosas retro fundi amoenissimi oblitteraverunt, silvas arva domuerunt, feras pecora fugaverunt, harenae seruntur, saxa panguntur, paludes eliquantur, tantae urbes quantae non casae quondam. iam nec insulae horrent nec scopuli terrent; ubique domus, ubique populus, ubique respublica, ubique vita. summum testimonium frequentiae humanae: onerosi sumus mundo, vix nobis elementa sufficiunt, et necessitates arctiores, et querellae apud omnes, dum iam nos natura non sustinet. revera lues et fames et bella et voragines civitatum pro remedio deputanda, tamquam tonsura insolescentis generis humani; et tamen, cum eiusmodi secures maximam mortalium vim semel caedant, numquam restitutionem eius vivos ex mortuis reducentem post mille annos semel orbis expavit.
(Tertullian, De Anima 30.3-4)

Surely it is obvious enough, if one looks at the whole world, that it is becoming daily better cultivated and more fully peopled than anciently. All places are now accessible, all are well known, all open to commerce; most pleasant farms have obliterated all traces of what were once dreary and dangerous wastes; cultivated fields have subdued forests; flocks and herds have expelled wild beasts; sandy deserts are sown; rocks are planted; marshes are drained; and where once were hardly solitary cottages, there are now large cities. No longer are (savage) islands dreaded, nor their rocky shores feared; everywhere are houses, and inhabitants, and settled government, and civilized life. What most frequently meets our view (and occasions complaint), is our teeming population: our numbers are burdensome to the world, which can hardly supply us from its natural elements; our wants grow more and more keen, and our complaints more bitter in all mouths, whilst Nature fails in affording us her usual sustenance. In very deed, pestilence, and famine, and wars, and earthquakes have to be regarded as a remedy for nations, as the means of pruning the luxuriance of the human race; and yet, when the hatchet has once felled large masses of men, the world has hitherto never once been alarmed at the sight of a restitution of its dead coming back to life after their millennial exile*.

* An allusion to Plato’s notion that, at the end of a thousand years, such a restoration of the dead, took place. See his Phaedrus, p. 248, and De Republ. x. p. 614.

(tr. Peter Holmes, with his note)